I, Jennifer, write this blog on behalf of my husband, children, and the rest of our Christian community at the 17-acre Living Waters Ranch (Rancho Hogar Agua Viva) in rural El Pino, Honduras. We have been given the purpose, challenge, and joy of raising up the next generation of children and teens to be fierce yet compassionate followers of Christ, taking those who have been abandoned/orphaned by their biological families into our home as sons and daughters while likewise mentoring youth from our rural neighborhood, teaching them the Good Shepherd’s way.
This blog will serve as our story — our stumbles and follies as new parents, the little victories we experience, moments of profound thanksgiving, spiritual or emotional breakthroughs, family struggles and learnings, and visions of God’s Kingdom reigning in our daily lives.
My husband and I come from drastically different backgrounds — the youngest child of 18 siblings raised in the Honduran countryside and an only child from the suburbs of Texas, but our marriage proves that in Christ we are a new race, no longer belonging to the physical markings our flesh bares, but rather a new race united in God’s Kingdom and by His power.
Darwin and I were married June 24, 2013 in a Honduran national park by my dear college roommate, and less than five months later we were blessed with three children, ages 13, 9, and 6. A little over three months later, we were also given a 13-year-old boy whom we took in as a son for over eight months and who left the protection of our home for an extended period of time but, miraculously, has returned to live with us as of November 2016. As of November 2017, we are now parents to ten children (three boys and seven girls between the ages of 9-17) after a sibling group of two arrived in January 2015, another sibling group of two moved in in July 2015, and two teen girls arrived in October 2017. In 2016 we also had a local female student live with us for a season as she sought refuge from the sexual abuse of her step-father. Our beloved student has since returned to live with her mom (the mother has valiantly left behind the abusive man and established a safe living environment) and we remain in very close contact with her and her mom.
Darwin is a musician, and in April 2014 left his position as director of a non-profit music school in the nearby city of La Ceiba in order to dedicate himself fully to our mission/family, teaching in our community homeschool and the agricultural development of our land. He has started a musical program in our home for our children and those from our neighborhood, teaches several dynamic classes to students of all ages in our school, and is using the agricultural knowledge he gained from his youth on his family´s farm to care for our small herd of milking cows.
My first task upon moving to Honduras as a single woman in June 2012 was to spend the school year teaching a class of 28 rowdy first-graders at a local bilingual school while making preparations for the Living Waters Ranch to receive its first children. I am now a full-time momma to 10 kids/teens who are learning for the first time what it means to walk in truth, love and freedom while I also fulfill the roles of: rouge grammar/mathematics/karate/bootcamp teacher/coach in our community homeschool, sex education counselor to all who will listen, teacher of God’s Word in our community Bible study, and visionary/director of the Living Waters Ranch.
Darwin and I, in addition to having been blessed with the ten children who are currently under our full-time care and many more from our rural neighborhood who are enrolled in our elementary school and secondary school, have also been given the privilege of laboring alongside of various Honduran Christians who perform different roles in Christ’s body as we labor together for God’s glory. The small team of faithful people the Lord has brought to teach, minister and serve together at the Living Waters Ranch have become our family and our closest friends in this daily gospel work.
It is our hope and purpose that God may speak through us to proclaim that God is alive and that Christ truly — and we say this because each of our lives have been drastically changed by His power — is the way, the truth, and the life. And what truly abundant life we have in Him!
This is the testimony God has given us.
To read more about the mission, you can go to:
You can contact us in the following ways:
Facebook: Jennifer Zilly Canales or Living Water Children’s Ranch
Snail Mail: Darwin y Jennifer Canales, Apartado Postal 907, La Ceiba, Honduras